Several members of Deep Purple – past and present – have spoken about an incident with the Swiss police while they were recording their now-iconic hit ‘Smoke on the Water’.
Speaking to Classic Rock Magazine per Music News, founding drummer and longtime member Ian Paice revealed that while the band were jamming to the track in Switzerland, they experienced a “pretty hostile” situation with the local authorities.
The band were jamming in a mobile unit in Switzerland in 1971 after the Montreux Casino had been burned down by a fan with a flare gun. The Swiss police reportedly began knocking on the band’s door as they were creating “a hell of a racket”.
Paice revealed: “There was no sound-proofing and we were recording at night. A hell of a racket!”
Founding guitarist and former member Ritchie Blackmore added: “We did ‘Smoke On The Water’ there, and the riff I made up in the spur of the moment. I just threw it together with lan Paice. Roger Glover joined in.”
“We went outside to the mobile unit and were listening back to one of the takes, and there was some hammering on the door. It was the local police, and they were trying to stop the whole thing because it was so loud. We knew that they were coming to close everything down. We said to Martin Birch, our engineer: ‘Let’s see if we have a take.’ So they were outside hammering and taking out their guns… It was getting pretty hostile.”
They would go one to say that they had to lock their doors and fend the police off until they managed to successfully record a take and stop for the night.
Last July, guitarist Steve Morse announced that he had officially quit the band to care for his wife, Janine, who has aggressive cancer. Morse confirmed in March 2022 that he’d be temporarily stepping away from live duties. “At this point, there are so many possible complications and unknowns, that whatever time we have left in our lives, I simply must be there with her,” he said in a statement at the time.
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